Jonathan Djanogly, the minister who helped shepherd the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act on to the statute book, has dropped off Obiter’s radar lately.
The Huntingdon MP’s ministerial days are some time ago now, and Hansard records he has spoken just twice in parliament since April, and not at all in May and June.
But Djanogly has not been inactive – instead he’s been learning more about the transformative effects of legalising cannabis.
Djanogly joined Labour MP David Lammy and Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb on a fact-finding trip which featured pictures of each in pleasingly silly white coats, hair nets and face masks.
Their conclusion, that cannabis could be legalised in the UK within 10 years, drew headlines from the media and poo-pooing from the government.
Djanogly admitted to mixed feelings, but wrote on his return that Canada’s legalisation of recreational use last October had generated economic benefits.
‘Cannabis is delivering thousands of new jobs, often in the most deprived areas of Canada,’ he said. ‘We heard clear evidence of how cannabis production is benefiting the type of post-industrial areas that are so familiar to us also in the UK.’
Slasher of legal aid and potential enabler of legal cannabis. Djanogly’s political record will make for interesting reading.